Instructables

I have seen 5 or 6 wooden bicycles out there on the web . How do they make those plywood wheels?

I can make the rest of the wooden bicycle but, I really want to make some of those laminated wood wheels with the metal bicycle rims . A lot of the bicycles just use standard wire spoked wheels " it is a great design " but , 5 or 6 wooden bikes use plywood in place of the spokes . Anyone know how , it seems silly " well sillier " of me to reinvent the wheel if someone has a good design already . It's not about saving time or money I already have wheels I could use . I just think they look way cool . Thanks !

Picture of I have seen 5 or 6 wooden bicycles out there on the web . How do they make those plywood wheels?
caitlinsdad5 years ago
It seems that you can just trace the inside of the rim to get your shape of the wheel. Find the exact center to mount the hub. Cut out the spoke shapes. Smooth out and contour any edges and fit back in the rim. Probably in the rim where the nubs of the spokes go, you can drill in and screw to the plywood. Maybe you can glue it in but you want some mechanical fastener for strength across the joint. You might want to use furniture grade plywood that has no patched voids in the layers. I don't know how stiff the ride may be or how strong of a bump it can take. Good luck.
xylonbikes3 years ago
Hi In answer to your query about making wooden plywood wheels. Its interesting how everyone side-steps the hub assembly fitting which is a big design problem. I've made a few and can send you pics if you like as it is too complex to explain here. This is critical as you can not tighten or loosen the wheel spokes to centre the hub. Definitely go for 9mm marine grade birch plywood. Incidentally there are very few advantages to wooden wheels like this, other than the way they look - it depends on what you are looking for. Nick Taylor, Designer Xylonbikes
Xylon Klassic Studio.jpg
ANDY!5 years ago
If your gonna make them yourself, get a bike rim, take the tires and spokes off, make a circle and cut spokes with a jigsaw so itll fit in the rim, screw the sircle into the rim with the spoke holes as guides and viola! your done. good luck!
Good question, but it leads to more, why have the ali rim at all? what style and size of tire do you want to accommodate i.e. cruiser, racer, leisure? Like-a-Bike make very good plywood wheels for kids bikes, that would probably scale up to 16"(349) or 20"(406) Both these sizes have a good choice of adult load carrying tyres, combined with a "BigApple" balloon tyre you might get a rideable wheel. In my opinion, the one in your pic looks like a 'show wheel' that would collapse around the axle area do to the lack of spread...
randomray (author)  drivenupthewall5 years ago
Good questions Driven , I wanted a metal rim because it would be stronger for the same weight . I know that years ago wood rims were not uncommon for tubular tires and even today there are one or two people still selling them . I was looking at a 20 to 26" tire . Magni Vinicio of Italy sells the bicycle in the picture .
Bicyclette5 years ago
Here is some information about a guy that made a fixie wooden bike.
http://fixedgeargallery.com/2009/feb/2/AlanDowney.htm
randomray (author) 5 years ago
Thanks for the help . I think what I am having the most trouble with is the best way to capture the rim with the " plywood " . I will just have to experiment some , I was hoping some one had a tested method .
jtobako5 years ago
Construction grade plywood isn't going to work, you need one of the baltic birch aircraft quality plywoods.